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I can’t stand my colleague’s obscene questions

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 40s, and I’ve managed to work every day while enduring a colleague’s obscene questions.

About a few months ago, the colleague began asking me such things as “Have you been to a hotel with a woman?” and “Are you interested in naked women?” I’m not interested in these things, so I said, “I don’t care about either.” He replied: “[You’re] weird. Life’s boring without a bit of fun, you know.”

I once talked about this with my superior, but my superior actually said, “I hope you’ll get interested in them.”

I’ve endured all this for some time but I can’t take it anymore, so I’m considering changing jobs. I looked for a job, and fortunately I found one similar to my current one.

However, my current workplace is short of staff, so I’m concerned about how the company will manage if I quit. It would be comfortable to work here if there wasn’t any obscene talk. The type of job suits me, too.

Should I solve this problem by trying to get interested in naked women and such? I’m torn between two feelings -- I want to stay and I want to leave. Which should I choose? Please help me.

D, Nagano Prefecture

Dear Mr. D:

I shook with anger after reading your letter. It’s absolutely sexual harassment. Your workplace is terrible. Your colleague indulges in such talk because your superior is irresponsible. Even if you aren’t interested in women, so what?

These people don’t like who you are, which is serious and sincere. Since they aren’t serious and sincere, they don’t want you to be.

This reflects today’s social trends. Being frivolous and irresponsible is all right as long as it’s interesting.

That way of thinking is dominant in society today, and people who don’t think that way are regarded as strange.

Never conform to them because they’re wrong here. Being serious and sincere is actually the best virtue we can achieve.

They might say it was just meant as a joke, but what they’re doing can’t just be brushed aside.

Companies are required to have a department where their employees can receive advice about any sexual harassment they are enduring. If there’s sexual harassment at workplaces, employers must correct it.

If you think it’s difficult to seek advice by yourself, ask for support from a person you rely on. Why not see what this action brings before changing jobs?

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Feb. 13, 2015, issue)

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